Take a Drink: for every musical number.
Take a Drink: anytime there’s narration.
Do a Shot: for every fairy tale you spot. Do Two: when Johnny Depp gets creepy.
Take a Drink: whenever the witch pops in. Take Two: anytime you notice Meryl Streep’s weird CGI facelift.
Take a Sip: every time you hear “woods” or “I wish”.
Shotgun a Beer: for the fakeout not-so-happy ending.
By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) –
Musicals are like that loud bitch at the party screaming “look at me! look at me!” with her top off covered in queso and tequila (read: mostly entertaining with moderate amounts of public shame). Into The Woods is a hit-and-miss bonanza of song and dancery that you should definitely be buzzed before, during, and after on principle alone. But I’ve made worse decisions than this. Mostly involving queso and tequila.
Into The Woods follows a collection of Grimm’s fairy tale characters as each chases his or her dreams… Or at least what they think their dreams are. A baker and his childless wife rush to undo a witch’s curse before the rise of a full blue moon in three day’s time. In the course of their journey they run across Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel (not to mention a really creepy Johnny Depp as The Big Bad Wolf) each on a quest to have a dream come true. As events and circumstances draw close and ever-more dire, tales and characters converge in a Disney blender of expectations and not-so-fairy-tale outcomes. Will everyone end up in the happily-ever-after they’re meant for? Will randomly breaking out into song and everyone being okay with it ever not be creepy? Will white girls ever learn to “literally even”?
This film has a cast so talented I’m surprised Kanye didn’t show up in the middle of the movie and interrupt them. The voice talent from Meryl Streep to Anna Kendrick to Emily Blunt and more was the “hit” in the “hit-and-miss” of the film. And whatever acting the cast managed to fit in between musical numbers was fairly engaging as well. Plus any movie with Chris Pine in a doublet ripping it open Magic–Mike-style in one of the funniest, most tongue-in-cheek-prince-on-prince musical numbers of the movie has my ass in a seat, guaranteed.
There were also moments of wit in-between the, at times, slightly stilted dialogue that showcased what the film, with a little more flair and a slightly less static script could’ve been. Disney went dark with the mediocre Maleficent (which yours truly also took a bullet for) and they went with the darker Grimm’s fairy tales here as well, which was refreshing, but, like, PG-implied violence because realism is totes gross, y’all. I also didn’t get lit on fire, attacked by free-range hipsters or catch feelings in the theater… So Into The Woods had that going for it.
The running time for this stage-to-screen adaptation was two hours and four minutes long and I felt almost every one of those minutes of my life slipping away never to be seen again. Not unlike that week in Australia I blacked out drinking and woke up with a boyfriend. Both left me with a vague sense of WTF in the air and a dull throbbing behind the eyes.
The pacing of Into The Woods was something in-between agonizingly painful and mildly entertaining with brief stops at heartwarming and/or emotionally impactful. Much like having sex when you’re not really into it, Into The Woods starts and ends with a lackluster bang.
Into The Woods features a star-studded cast that brings to life a complicated arc and web of characters each with their own and ensemble storyline… And those characters are both more and less than you’d expect. The film gives you your traditional storyline and then three quarters of the way through chugs a gallon of LSD and anger-bangs A Midsummer Night’s Dream before pooping out an “unexpected-ending-baby” nine months later. It could’ve actually been nine months in that theater. Please see Beer Two above for the highly scientific blackout time warp phenomenon.The cast did what they could with what they were given, it just felt stiff and not in the fun way.
Every once in a while there was a tiny spark of unexpected humor to breathe life into the film like when Rapunzel’s tears cure her Prince’s blindness after they reunite and he takes one look at her hair, waits a beat and says “… I like it.” Clearly any man, even one in a fairy tale, knows not to fuck with a bitch by insulting even the most heinous haircut. My favorite number in the film is by far the Prince’s Duet where the lyrics hint at sly innuendo and one-upmanship culminating in competitive doublet-ripping. I’m not sure, because I was mesmerized by Chris Pine’s piercing blue eyes, but I may have actually been chuckling.
Into The Woods took place mostly in, here’s a shocker, the woods and felt claustrophobic at times. Interspersed with impressive visual effects (Meryl Streep’s weird CGI facelift not being one of them) and scenery, every trip back into the woods and singing about being in the woods had more wood in the woods than at a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting. Into The Woods felt clunky as a bobbled stage-to-screen adaptation, failing harder than Paris Hilton’s music career. The problem with this film is that it over-promised (check out the awesome trailer below) and under-delivered.
Into The Woods was a mind-numbing drag through the mediocre underbelly of musicals. The film wasn’t bad, it was even somewhat entertaining; it just wasn’t memorable. And that’s maybe worse. I haven’t been this conflicted about something since parachute pants went out of style.
You probably won’t hate yourself for going to see this but save your money and splurge on that slighty-used My Little Pony onesie you’ve been eyeballing on Craigslist. Trust me, I’m a *doctor (*highly functioning alcoholic with daddy issues).